tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC January 9, 2014 9:00am-10:01am PST
that's my focus. my focus is on the people of new jersey and the job they gave me. so all of those considerations are, you know, the kind of hysteria that goes around this because everybody is in that world gets preoccupied with that job. i am not preoccupied with that job. i'm preoccupied with this one. as you can tell, i've got plenty to do. it's not like i have spare time to spend. you're rolling your eyes and looking very disgruntled i hadn't called on you. >> barely talked about wildstein in this conference. can you elaborate how you're feeling towards his role in this on any information you garnered from him regarding -- you said you are one to show emotion. what kinds of emotion in private -- >> i'm sad. i'm sad. that's the predominant emotion i feel right now. sadness that i was portrayed by
a member of my staff, sadness that i had people who i entrusted with important jobs who acted completely inappropriately. sad that that's led the people of new jersey to have less confidence in the people that i've selected. the emotion i've been displaying in private is sad. as i said earlier in answer to your question, you know, i don't know what the stages of grief are in exact order but anger gets there at some point. i'm sure i'll have that too but the fact is right now i'm sad. let me clear something up. okay? about my childhood friend david wildstein. it is true that i met david in 1977 in high school. he's a year older than me. david and i were not friends in high school, not even acquaintances in high school. i had a high school livingston, a three-year high school that had 1800 students in a
three-year high school in the late '70s, early 1980. i knew david wildstein and met him ton the tom cain for governor campaign. he was a youth volunteer and so was i. after that time i completely lost touch with david. i was the class president and athlete, i don't know what david was doing during that period of time. then we reacquainted years later in i think 2000 when he was helping bob franks with his senate campaign against corzine. we went 23 years without seeing each other. and in the years we did see oech other, we passed in the hallways, i want to clear that up. it doesn't make a difference except that i think some of the stories that are written impute a closeness between me and david that doesn't exist.
i know david. and you know, i knew that bill baroni wanted to hire david to come to the port authority. i gave my permission, but that was bill's hire. he asked for permission, i gave my permission to hire david. let's be clear about the relationship. okay? how do i feel about david now? listen, what i read yesterday makes me angry. that's the one bit of anger i felt. that language and that callous indifference from david yesterday, are just over the top and outrageous and should never ever have been written or utt uttered. thanks for the opportunity to further xpound on my relationship. john? >> you head you hadn't spoken with kelly and stef yan -- why
not? to get to the bottom of what this -- >> john, i said i haven't spoken to them since i discovered the e-mails. but i spoke to them beforehand. and bridgette clearly did not tell me the truth. and bill, what he told me at the time is not contradicted by the e-mails, but the e-mails and color and character of the e-mails has led -- have led me to conclude i don't have confidence in his judgment any longer and that's why i asked him to move on and he has. at this point, there are legislative hearings that are going to come and all of the rest and i don't want to get myself in the middle of that. the chairman said he intends to ask bridget kelly to testify and it wouldn't be inappropriate to get in the middle and that would
be other allegations about the conversations. the smarter things, about those two folks who i made determinations regarding their future, to talk to other folks still in my employ. >> there are other names in the e-mails, are you confident that they are -- >> i believe that i've spoken to everyone who was mentioned in the e-mails except for charlie mckenna, who is away at the family funeral. and i am confident based upon my conversations with them, that they had no prior knowledge nor involvement in this situation. >> that's your characterization, not mine, but there was nobody on my staff who had any knowledge of this issue until after the issue was already done. in the back, yes.
[ indiscernible ] >> it's also, i've seen conflicting reports about the cause of death. it's awful to hear. [ indiscernible ] >> all i can do is apologize for the conduct of people who worked for me. i can't reverse time. if i could, believe me, i would. i'm going to apologize. that's all can do. there's nothing you can do. david? >> governor, along the lines of doing the job as governor that you have said you're focused on regaining the trust of the people of new jersey, a lot of people are upset about this and shocked. the first couple of years you were governor, you did a lot of town hall meetings and spoke to people. any thought about possibly trying to do something like that
again. >> we clearly are going to do town halls in the second term. folks may raise the issue of in the midst of the campaign blurring the line of what would be a town hall and what would be a campaign event. we made the determination we weren't going to do town hall meetings as the campaign heated up to avoid that concern i certainly had no plans to do it during the transition. we certainly intend to do town hall meetings in the second term and try to do as many as we did in the first term. i enjoy the town hall setting and process and the fact is, i think -- i don't believe i've lost the trust of the people of new jersey. i think the people of new jersey are looking to see when mistakes are made how their leader is going to react. i believe when they see me take the action i'm taking today, they will say mistakes are made
and governor had nothing to do with that but taking responsibility for it and he's made the decisions that need to be make and promise to continue to make those decisions if necessary going forward. >> governor, two questions, do you think mr. wildstein should go before the transportation meeting this afternoon and tell them everything he knows? >> that's between david and his attorney. he's represented by counsel now. i would love to hear the whole story for my own purposes but i can't -- advise them what to do. someone represented by councsel will make their own judgment. he and his lawyer will determine what's in his best interest. certainly hearing the story would be good for everybody. >> who initiated this whole thing? >> i don't know. i don't know.
listen, up to this point in time, up until the e-mails wre leased yesterday, it was senator baroni's testimony that mr. wild stein initiated it at his approval with his approval. now i -- i don't know given some of the e-mails i saw yesterday but clearly mr. wildstein -- i guess time will tell but clearly there was knowledge of this action, whatever it was, prior to the beginning of it with bridget kelly. that was something i said in answer to a question a few weeks ago was not the case. that's what we were told after repeated questioning of all of the people around here. i was lied to. for that, she's been terminated.
>> angie -- >> hundreds if not thousands of people, how did you feel to get the truth from your own staff? >> first off, i would love angie to believe that i interviewed hundreds if not thousands of people as u.s. attorneys. i did not. it was the very rare occasion when the u.s. attorney himself or herself goes into a room and interviews a witness. it probably happens a dozen times in seven years, very rare occurrence. a angie, try to understand this on a personal level if you worked for someone with five years and they've been a member of your political team and governmental team and look at them and say to them, what do you know about this did you have any involvement in it? did you have any knowledge of it? >> they look at you and say no.
and you've had -- never had any reason before to believe that there were anything but a truth teller, why wouldn't you believe them? i mean, i work on pt basis of trust with people. and i assume over a period of time that most people are trust worthy unless proven otherwise. and so when we asked those questions and we got those answers, there was no reason at the time we asked the questions for us to believe that they weren't true based upon the conduct of that person. i think even if you look at some of the stories today written by bridget kelly, i don't think you've heard anybody in those stories talk about her in any way but very positive ways, given her history in the statehouseworki working for the legislature. that's why i used the phrase before that i was heart broken, because i trusted i was being told the truth and then i wasn't. i wasn't by somebody i placed a
significant amount of trust in. did i miss it? we missed it -- that's why we're here. we missed it. but what do you do when you find out you missed it? i found out at 9:00 -- a little before 9:00 yesterday morning, by 9:00 this morning her position was terminated. and i think that's swift appropriate action that people would expect from the chief executive of the state. >> the nature of bridget's e-mail, sounded like they have a prearranged agreement -- >> i understand what you're saying, i can't read anything else into it beyond i know you're inferring certain things from the e-mail. that's a reasonable inference, but i don't know. i don't know the answer. when we ask questions, we didn't know about the existence of the e-mail. i found that out for first time
at 8:50 yesterday morning. and you can only imagine as i was standing there in my bedroom with my ipad looking at that how incredibly sad and betrayed i felt. and so i don't know what to say beyond that. >> josh? >> you were a u.s. attorney high reprofile investigated a governor, you know are a governor who has a u.s. attorney investigating people that were connected to your office. what instructions are you giving have you given to your staff? what will you do? and can we expect to see claims of executive privilege and you know you cannot have documents or going to cooperate fully -- >> i have absolutely nothing to hide. and i have not given any instruction to anyone yet but my
instructions to everybody will be to cooperate and answer questions. you know, josh, i have nothing to hide, any questions anybody wants to ask me, they can ask. from law enforcement, anything they want to ask, they can ask. so we have nothing to hide and this administration has nothing to hide. >> governor -- >> bob. >> in terms it seems you're still getting momentum and finding out what's going on. do you think this could have an impact and put on hold -- for the nomination for attorney general since he was the chief of staff and probably be -- >> absolutely not. kevin's confirmation hearing will go forward on tuesday. and i expect he'll be vigorously questioned like any candidate for attorney general should be. i expect he'll get swift and certain confirmation because he deserves it. >> elise? >> much of this as we saw from
e-mails much of this discussion was taking place on private e-mail accounts. have you asked your staff to stop communicating government business on private e-mails? >> i have not thought about that yet. i'll put it on my list to consider but haven't thought about it yet. >> have you read any other e-mails yesterday's e-mails just a small amount of what's available? >> we've been given no documents, elise. >> have you requested more documents? >> i don't know but we certainly -- none were offered to us to review. the first time we saw any documents was on the website yesterday morning and we haven't been offered any. charlie? >> bridget kelly, did she have the authorization to carry out significant policy decisions of such as authorization of
governor's office or funding to now getting prior approval from you or your senior staff, or is she free to make those -- >> listen, i don't -- i don't believe bridget had policy authority on any issue. he was to interact with governmental agencies and members of the legislature. that was her job. so my understanding of her authority was that she had no authority on policy. that policy issues had to be run through the chief of staff's offi office. no, now, again i know there's certain suppositions in that question.
my understanding was not that it extended to policy, no. >>. [ indiscernible ] >> they find it hard to believe bridget would be making these type of decisions reflected in the e-mail from yesterday, without prior approval of the staff. >> she had no prior approval. from the chief of staff that is her direct report and no prior approval from the governor. she did not seek it. we weren't informed about it. and so if she acted in a manner which exceeded her authority, which seems to be a possibility, you know, that's what she did. i had no knowledge and neither did the chief of staff.
>> was your district involved in -- >> i spoke to mike last night. david at that time was considering whether or not to resign. and he made the determination the next day in a meeting with the administration to resign. but i don't believe from my conversation with mike last night that that was the main topic of the dinner that night, that the dinner was a social dinner, not a professional dinner. >> jenna? [ indiscernible ] >> well, to the extent i can, jenna. from what i know at this point, mr. baroni and wildstein's position is that the lanes were closed to do a traffic study.
i've heard nothing from them that changes their position. i now see e-mails which indicate that there is a political overtone to what went on. i don't know what the situation is. i don't know whether -- like i said, i think i answered this before, i don't know whether this was some type of rogue political operation that morphed into a traffic study or traffic study that morphed into an additional rogue -- >> as best i can. mr. wildstein is scheduled to testify at the legislature. so not like he's available for interview. so you know, i'm not going -- as i said in response to a question over here, i'm not going to get in the middle of the legislative process with people that they've already noticed to be witnesses. i think that would be inappropriate, let them do their job. because if i did i would be accused of trying to play around with testimony, which i'm not going to get involved in.
marsha? [ indiscernible ] >> listen, you think i'm suggesting any traffic studies any time soon, you've got to be kidding me. i don't want a traffic study in front of my house, marsha. i'm out of the traffic study business for certain, never in it and don't want to be in it. here's what we should do, as a policy going forward, that should be left to the professional staff at the port authority and let the professional engineers and those folks deal with whether those things should be done or not done. i'm pretty confident in saying that is the current position of this administration. luke? >> moving forward, indicated yesterday that the assembly's investigation of this will continue. do you believe that the
legislature should continue look into this type of thing or do you believe they are looking to along -- score political points? >> i think they have every right to do what they are doing given what was revealed yesterday. i'm not going to question that in terms of their right to conduct an investigation. i think given what was revealed yesterday, i was shocked by it. i assume they were too. and i have a good relationship with the incoming speaker. and i'll work with him in every way i possibly can to make sure we put this matter to rest. so i certainly am not going to request their right or ability to do it, no. >> wondering in the course of the campaign, actively seeking the support of many democrats. they have these meetings, here's the latest polling and ad and did anyone say to you -- >> never -- his name was never mentioned to me.
his position was never mentioned to me. when i say, john, he was not on my radar screen, that means he was not on my radar screen. i never had bill step yan or anyone else connected with the campaign even mention to me that -- like even an update. we've had two meetings with the mayor and think things are going well or poorly. i get those type of updates, but i never heard the fort lee mayor's name, mark so-- a numbe of them wound up having meetings like you're referencing. mayor sok lich was never mentioned to me. you go back to the question about making a joke about this, that's part of the reason i feel comfortable doing it. this can't have anything to do with politics. i don't even know this guy.
how could it be that someone would be doing something like this against a mayor that i never had any conversations with or any sense we were seeking his endorsement. that's why this is such -- it's part of the reason this is such a mystery to me, john. and why i'm so upset about it. [ indiscernible ] >> i would have said who's he? if somebody would have said something, who's he and what did he do? i mean, i don't know this guy. like i said, i may have met him in a greeting line or in a big burton county event own town hall or something, but until yesterday when i saw his picture on tv, i wouldn't have -- if he walked in the screen i wouldn't have been able to pick him out. that's not to diminish him in any way, in this context, this is not a guy on my radar screen in any way, nor was his name
ever brought up to me until after the story started to appear about the fort lee traffic problem. that's the first time i heard of the mayor. that's why, john, it's such a mystery to me. sure, of course i was kelly, but he wasn't one of them. he wasn't one of them. i'm happy to admit i was trying to run up the score. absolutely. that's what you do in a campaign, try to get as many supporters and endorsers to turn into voters. >> did represent something you were trying -- >> of course, but i had to go get it i had to make a phone call or do something to bring the person over the finish line, it was the rare occurrence that i had that arrangement with
them. my point to you is, i'm trying to give you context. i know the campaign we ran and know who i was pursuing as endorsers and who was close and we didn't get. who was never close or we were trying to get. and i know the people we got. this guy never was on my radar screen. i think he confirmed that last night by saying he was never really -- he doesn't have any recollection of being asked for the endorsement. that's -- that's why i don't get this. it is what it is and i'm responsible for it, regardless of all of that, i'm responsible for it. it happened on my watch. and you can't just say, well, listen, i didn't know about it so it's not my problem. go talk to somebody else. the buck stops at my desk. i have to act.
and i've act d as quick as i could potentially. by 9:00 bridget kelly was terminated and bill step yan was told to leave the organization and lech the rga. i think that's pretty swift action given that i really yesterday was blindsided by this. i'm not happy i was blind sided and proud i was blind sided. when i came up here, i feel humiliated by this. i'm a person who cares deeply about doing my job well. i work extraordinarily hard at it. that's what i should do. i've taken an oath to that iliai did not know this and i was deceived. >> mr. governor -- we talked yesterday and some of the e-mails she was not happy and
cynical and said one of the texts -- >> one of the supporters' children, yeah. [ indiscernible ] >> this raises questions about kids getting to school and ems response. can i get your thought on how serious this was, this snarl on traffic? >> it wasn't good. that's why i'm here apologizina. it was an awful, callous, indifferent thing to do. and if it was part of a traffic study, that's one thing. once it has political overtones it's an entirely different matter. that's why i am upset about this and that's why i apologize to the people of new jersey today and why i apologize specifically to the people at fort lee who were inconvenienced over those four days. it's not right.
and that's why i'm here apologizing. i have no idea. again, i will respond to those questions as i always have. as a former u.s. attorney, when i was u.s. attorney, i hated when politicians stood behind podiums and told the department of justice what to do. and i am not going to do that after complaining to my colleagues about it for seven years. now that i'm one of those, i'm not going to do that. >> governor, you just said earlier, i have nothing to hide. then you repeated it. i have i have nothing to hide. >> right. >> in your long public career at u.s. attorney's office and second term now, did you ever stand in front of this many cameras and say i have nothing to hide? >> no. >> yet you've -- >> yes. that was a searing bit of commentary, wasn't it. brian. >> governor, obviously this has
been a traumatic experience. you got very little, if any sleep whatsoever last night. did you ever for even a brief moment entertain the idea of perhaps you should resign? >> god no. no, brian, listen, i know you're asking. i am -- you know, i am -- that's a crazy question, man. i'm telling you, i had nothing to do with this. so you know, no, i never gave any thought to doing that at all, nor would i. what was i thinking about last night when i couldn't go to sleep? how did this happen? that's what i was thinking about. you know, when -- sure, when you're responsible and i spent a lot of time keeping mary pat up last night, talking me through it. you know, it's when it's great to have a really supportive spouse. she's willing to do four hours
too. but it -- that's what i was thinking, how did it happen? why do people do this? i don't get it. you work really hard, brian. i work hard at this job. and it's incredibly disappointing to have people let you down this way. i'm incredibly loyal to my people and i expect in return their honesty and candor and loyalty. and i didn't get it. and it's a hard thing. hard thing after you worked as hard as i do with them at it. here's the thing. this is my job and there are going to be mistakes and going to be disappoints. i don't think there's a perfect government anywhere in the country and i never claim to have one. i claim to have the best government i can make and sometimes there are going to be
mistakes. when there are, i have to own up to them and take responsibility sean act. and that's what i've done today and my promise to the people of the state is, that if there's any other evidence that comes forward that requires action to be taken, i will take it. no matter how much it hurts me repeatedly or dismays me. this is the job i asked for. i've got to do it. >> luke. >> there was some raising eyebrows during the time of mr. baroni's resignation, news conference, that was something in the works and looking back on it now, can you clarify how the process played out, do you think he was jumping ship a little bit or were you moving to a place where -- >> neither. as i said that day, i had made the determination during the fall campaign that i wanted to
make a change at the port authority. bill was one of the longest serving deputy executive directors in recent history at four years. and i felt like it was time for a change. part of that is evidenced by my response to josh's question about the internal workings. there's a lot of hand to hand combat over at the port authority. legitimately so between new york and new jersey about resources or whatever. i thought as i said at the time that four years was enough for any one person. and so i had approached deb during the fall campaign, who at the time was my policy chief and said, i'm thinking about making a change at the port authority. would you be willing to tail the job if i asked you? she said yes. and so, from the -- from the fall campaign i remember was september/october but sometime before election day. i had made that decision in my own mind. and very soon after the election that was communicated to bill
baroni, we were trying to figure out the timing of all of that during -- wanted to get it done during the transition and wanted deb to finish policy work she kneeleded to follow, finalize for me. i wanted bill to have an appropriate period of time to be able to get himself ready to move on to his next opportunities. that was the way the process worked. and so, it was neither bill jumping ship, nor us pushing for this reason it was us saying, it's time to go, you served four years and i'd like to put someone else there. all of that was amicable at the time and something that he understood to be such once deb was willing to take the job. david? >> governor, a couple of hours after the story broke yesterday, the assembly transportation boss was discussing the fact that the more he learns about this through thousands of pages of documents, the longer the list was growing of people he would be thinking about issuing
subpoena to. and he was asked if that could possibly include you and he said, he had the authority to issue a subpoena to anybody who needs -- he needs to get information from. if you were to get a subpoena for whatever reason, what would you do? >> i'm not going to speculate on that. >> matt? >> the revealing nature of the e-mails, wondering what else and what other e-mails -- for government e-mails related to this and they were told there was nothing. yet these e-mails yesterday reveal there was e-mail related to this issue. did you know about that? is there a transparency issue generally in the administration? >> a, i don't know what you're talking about, that's the first i've heard of it. second, i don't believe there
is, we take these requests very seriously and we have a person dedicated in council's office to review these matters and there's departments. i don't think there is, matt. i think in the main, we respond to the requests appropriately under the law. that's my understanding from both my first chief counsel and second chief counsel, i don't have any reason to believe otherwise. if there's sometimes -- i don't know the incident you're talking about, but if there's sometimes mistakes made or oversights, i'm sure that can happen but there's no pattern or conduct of that. it's the law, we have to comply with it and we comply with the law as written. >> i'm wondering when you were first called for comment on stortry and whether you think this will affect your ability -- >> when was i first called for comment? i have no idea. i don't get those calls directly. i don't know.
secondly, no, won't affect my ability to work at the rga at all. no. >> throughout this entire press conference you said that you're a loyal person and expect loyalty and fired this person on your staff because she lied. are you the victim here or is -- are the people of fort lee the victim and should he be fired because she messed up traffic -- >> first of all, i don't know she ordered a traffic study. i know what i might infer and you might infoer from that. we'll have to find out -- > i'm telling you when i asked for an answer from a member of my staff and they lie, regardless of what the content is they lied about, they are gone. so i never had to get to conduct, underlying conduct. if you lie when i ask you a question, you're fired.
that's it. if i had to have gotten to the underlying conduct, there was plenty there to fire her on there. but i didn't need to get there. question one was, do you know anything about this? did you have any involvement in it? the answer was no and e-mail is evidence that the should have been yes. i need to go no further than that in terms of making a determination about her future employment with me. >> governor christie, one of the things in terms of compliance standpoint, the very person who has the most information about why should did this is the very person you caught up communication with. isn't that management instead? >> are you suggesting i should have kept her? >> i'm saying talk to her -- have a conversation like why did you do this, get some information? >> bob, if i did that, then you would have the legislature complaining that -- i think the
higher property is not to interfere with what the legislature is in the process of doing. i'm not going to do that because then, listen, the political nature of this would lead to charges of interference. i'm not going to do that. if after -- if she's brought to testify there, which the chairman said he intends to do and she testifies, if after that time i have -- we have other questions, then we can make the decision at that time whether to pursue that information. but it is my judgment -- you can disagree with it, but it's my judgment that for me to get involved with someone who the chairman has said he's going to call as a witness between the time i discovered this and the time that she may testify would be not the right thing for me to do. >> like tampering with the witness? >> i certainly wouldn't tamper with the witness but i could be accused -- >> you're laughing, at what point does political misconduct
cross into criminality? >> i don't know, bob. you know, the fact of the matter is -- the best way for me to not involve myself in that is do not involve myself in that. i'm trying to be a safe and careful stew ard of the public trust. and would i love to have more information yesterday? you bet. but i also have to understand the position i hold. and it's a position of extraordinary trust. and i have to execute that position with the acknowledge t acknowledgement of trust. that's why i'm not doing it. >> you? >> it's no secret that -- [ indiscernible ] >> i didn't quite understand your question. i had trouble hearing you too. >> was it a surprise he was
subpoenaing it? i didn't get the last part. because we didn't have the documents. [ indiscernible ] >> we asked bridget kelly and she told us she didn't have any. we asked if she was involved. she said she was not. we asked if she had any knowledge of it. she said she didn't. that's why i was surprised. i was told there was nothing there then there was. i mean, this is not -- in that sense it's not a mystery. if you ask for something and someone deceives you and tells you it doesn't exist, what's the follow-up. are you sure? yes. you searched your e-mails? yes. you don't have anything? no. okay, were you involved in any way? no. any knowledge? no. after that what do you do? [ indiscernible ] >> you'd have to ask them.
i don't know. i don't think so. i don't think so. >> did you break anything? >> no, i know you guys would love that if i actually did, i told you i'm not to that stage yet. i'm sure i might get to the stage where i'm angry. i don't break things. >> you weren't yelling at people --? >> gosh no. you need to understand this. i am standing here resolved to do my job and do what i'm supposed to do. but i am a very sad person today. that's the emotion i feel a person close to me betrayed me. a person who i counted on and trusted for five years betrayed me. a person who i gave a high government office to betrayed me. i probably will get angry at some point but i have to tell
you the truth, i'm sad. i'm a sad guy standing here today. and very disappointed. and that's the overriding emotion. someone asked me that before. that's the overriding emotion. i know that because of my blunt ns and directness that people think, of course he must get behind that door and be a loon ti lunatic. if you ask my staff, it is the rare moment in this office when i raise my voice. the rare moment when i raise my voice. i reserve it for special times. i will tell you last time i did. four weeks ago when i had them all in that office and i said, if any of you have any information about this that i don't know, you need to tell me, kevin or charlie now. that was the last time i raised
my voice in that office. and so no, i didn't break anything or yell and scream or curse anybody out. it's a sad day for me. and i'm doing what i'm obligated to do under this job because it's the right thing to do. i'm doing it. but it doesn't make me angry at the moment. it just makes me sad [ indiscernible ] >> no. [ indiscernible ] >> i have had no contact with david wildstein in a long time, a long time, well before the election. you know, i could probably count on one hand the number of conversations i've had with david since he worked at the port authority. i d i did not interact with david. if he would be here for a
meeting, we would say hello, how's your family and chat? we didn't have that kind of relationship. i understand the way it was characterized in the press, yes, he had an important job but not interacting with the governor on any regular basis. there were channels to go through here and he and baroni went through the channels. if it was something was brought to my attention -- i don't even remember having a meeting with wildstein. baroni, yes. but david, no. i'm telling you at 8:50 yesterday morning i got done with my workout at 8:45. my trainer left. i'm getting ready to get in the shower and 8:50 maria called me and told me about the breaking story and that was the first i knew of any of the e-mails or the information that was contained -- >> no, i was at -- yesterday.
>> these e-mails suggest to us that they took -- from your constituents to try to help you. [ indiscernible ] >> that's why i apoll guysed -- >> i think if i didn't stand up and take responsibility and apologize directly to the people of new jersey as i've done today, i think that would be a risk. but i'm not that kind of person. i understand the responsibility of this job. i've had it for four years now. and i think i said this at the press conference in december, there's plenty of times i get credit for things i had little to do with as governor. and sometimes i get blamed for things i have little to do with. but it doesn't matter. 50i i'm the governor. the things that happen on my watch are my responsibility, good and bad. you're darn right, what they did hurt the people of new jersey
and hurt the people of fort lee. and the person who needs to apologize for that is me. and i have. and i'm sorry to all of the people of this state that they have to be occupied with this matter. it's embarrassing and as i said before, the whole matter is humiliating to me. all you can do as a person when you know this is to stand up and be genuine and sincerely apologize and hope that people accept your apology. i think i've built up enough good will over time with the people of new jersey that i'm hopeful they will accept my apology. >> marsha? [ indiscernible ] >> is it possible there could have been other e-mails from other people, even in the port authority or your administration that you don't know about at this point? are you going to make an effort
to look at computers and blackberrys and things like that in your office -- >> i certainly -- first of all, the answer as of right now, i don't know. it's something i talked to staff about looking at. but you know, again, marsha, we found out about this 24 hours ago. so, things will take some time. i certainly have spoken to people in interviews i conducted yesterday and asked them specifically, to check their e-mails and let me know if there's something that touches upon this. we'll interview also folks who have -- would worked for bridget to see if there's something that they know and can shed light on. we're in the process of doing that but that's -- going to be time consuming and want to do it carefully. i just began that process yesterday and will work with my new chief counsel to get that stuff done. we can uncover whatever information we need to. but wherever the information comes from, we'll take it into account. if action is required. i'll take action.
>> one of the things you've done to try to create -- [ indiscernible ] >> you know, listen, political retribution, no. political fighting? sure. and people go back and forth all the time and you've seen that in this building no matter what administration was here. but the way we're different is we can fight but then we get into a room and more times than not, we're able to reach common ground with the other side to be able to move progress forward. i mean, the dream act signing a few weeks ago was a perfect example of that. there was a lot of fighting about that and a lot of hysteria
in the media about who's saying what about whom and what's all of this mean and anger and back and forth between me and present president and others. part of that is trying to persuade folks to your particular point of view and then ultimately what makes us different, not as politics as usual, this is an administration that has never shut down government over a budget dispute. this is an administration that has reached bipartisan consensus on issues that have been problems for new jersey for decades that no one else has been able to reach consensus on, bipartisan or partisan. this is an administration that's gotten big things done. with legislature of the other peopl party. will we fight sometimes and will
things get sharp elbowed? you bet. it goes both ways. but retribution as a word, no. >> there have been other exam e examples of allegations of improper political behavior by state government -- i think particularly about the county sheriff who's case was taken from the county prosecutor and -- knowing what you know now about your staffer lying to you, are you going to go back and look at the other situations? >> no because that was a situation which was handled by the attorney general at the time and now judge paul and i have complete and utter confidence in paula. i was not involved in that decision nor was anybody in this building because we don't get involved in law enforcement issues. so no, there's no reason for me to go back and look at that.
david. your state of the state is coming up, will you approach it in any different light in the. >> no, i won't. state of the state address. this is an important issue and it cannot be the only thing to do in the state. i'll work on this and other things as well. but it was very important today within 24 hours of these revolutioreceiv revelations to take action and apologize to the people of the state and fort lee and that's what i'm doing. matt? >> it was just reported that the mayor said that you would be premature and disruptive and should be postponed. did you know you were planning on commenting today. >> i was going to talk to him after this. i wish he would see me but i'm
not going to barge into his office. i'll go someplace else and talk to people in fort lee. i wish the mayor would reconsider because i come up to genuinely apologize to him for the conduct of people in my employ. but if he doesn't want a meeting, i don't know what he means how a meeting between he and i could be pre -- >> premature and disruptive -- >> premature and disruptive, i don't know how a meeting between two officials could be premature and disruptive. that's his choice, i'll meet with other people in fort lee. >> you said the buck stops here in multiple ways. there was significant overtime involved for first responders in terms of police, is that something you would consider to make maybe out of the campaign fund to reimburse since -- >> i don't know why it would be the campaign fund. and i have no knowledge of that. and we would consider that in the normal course of business.
with fort lee. certainly not something that i'm prepared to talk about now. >> can you explain why one the e-mail published and first found out there was anything going on -- >> it wasn't with pat foy's e-mail but there was an earlier story than that. i don't remember exactly. >> about the traffic though. >> something about the traffic, yeah. >> why didn't you respond then especially after the e-mail all of this stuff about emergency services? >> we did. we did and we were told it was a traffic study. >> but they tell you it was a traffic stulddy but the mayor is saying the ambulances can't get around. >> we were told they did a traffic study where they did not want the normal flow of traffic being interrupted to the traffic stu study would be a valid one. we did respond. we asked him and that's how we responded. again, i'm not somebody who's going to be getting into the details of a traffic study where
one is done appropriately or inappropriately. i can tell you that at that first moment, that's when i became aware there was an issue. but i didn't delve into it. >> just got this from -- the mayor sokolich saying he appreciates your comments very much and thinks a visit today might be premature and disruptive and rather not waste the gas and if he does come -- ask he delay his visit. can you give a reaction? >> my intention was when i got out of here was to call the mayor. i'll call the mayor and we'll see. in any event, i'm going to go up to fort lee today because it's important for me to do that. if the mayor doesn't want me to meet with him, that's certainly his choice --
>> said he meant no disrespect. >> listen. i don't know him. so i can't be offended and i'm not offended. if he wants to meet with me today, i'm happy to meet with him. if he doesn't, i'm going to go up to fort lee today because i think it's important for me to be on the ground there today and to apologize to folks. i'm going to do that. if he wants to be part of that, he's more than welcome to be and meet with me privately. if he doesn't, that's his choice too. he's got independent will. that's his call. i want to thank you all for coming today. and for your questions and i will see all of you if not before on tuesday for the state of the state address. thank you very much. >> okay, i'm joy reed in for alex wagner. that was chris christie it a lengthy press conference talking about the scandal surrounding closures on the george washington bridge and allocations of political retribution by members of his
staff. here with me is the host of "up." you've been watching this long press conference. your reaction? >> good theater, a question about whether he did himself good by going on for 1:45. he put himself in a situation where he's making absolutely clear he was lied to by the people around him and no knowledge of this. he's still not sure if it was a traffic study, anything like that. the problem here i think is -- potential problem is this. i've seen this happen before. three years ago. he fired somebody else, education commissioner and the reason for this was the educational commissioner lied to him. chris christie believed this. a week later the educational commissioner came out with e-mails and documents that said, actually, no, chris christie knew all about this issue. so he's now said, look, bridget kelly lied to me, out of my administration. i haven't talked to her. he's insinuating that the close
political al lie lied to him. what's going to play out there, there's the potential for anybody else caught up in this any kind of documentation that could show chris christie had any knowledge of this, he's really screwed. >> we were talking as chris christie was going on about something very important in terms of timing when the revelations came out and this coming out at this time played into this whole thing. the legislature had a time line? >> this is sort of a one way of looking at this. we tend to look at this as a binary thing, either he knew or was completely duped. we find it hard to believe he was duped. there could potentially be a middle ground here where this -- the counter lines up with willful ignorance on christie's part. a while ago he figured out the basics i could see this wasn't a traffic study and this is bad
news if we go down this path, but here's the key, legislative elections in november. the new legislature is seated next tuesday. the authority to issue subpoenas expires with the end of the legislature next tuesday. they almost ran the clock to this coming tuesday without any more subpoenas being issued. any could have potentially killed the story if they ran the clock to next tuesday. when it came out yesterday, it did change everything and new legislature will extend this subpoena authority to the legislative investigation and now you have wildstein there today and a lot more testifying in the legislature in the weeks and months ahead. all because of these revelations yesterday. >> thank you so much. we appreciate it. >> i'm joy reed, let's go to andrea mitchell in washington. >> thank you so very much. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. chris christie taking responsibility for the george washington bridge debacle that has quickly become a political nightmare for the new jersey governor. we heard remorse, frustration and anger and promise that he
didn't give the green light for closures that turned fort lee into a parking lot. >> i had no knowledge or involvement in this issue. in its planning or execution. and i am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here regardless of what the facts ultimately uncover, this was handled in a callous and indifferent way. >> joining me now by phone, former new jersey governor tom cain. thank you for being with us, this was a stunning almost two-hour apologize, he had in fact worked as a young volunteer for you. tell me about new jersey politics and what this says about chris christie and his future? >> well, i think one thing it says about him, he handled
himself i thought extraordinarily well in a difficult situation. he took on every question that the press had for a conference that lasted i guess almost two hours. this is a bizarre situation. the idea that someone political retribution would involve lane closures on the busiest bridge in the world and somehow that's going to benefit somebody politically doesn't make any sense. if you and i were to read that in a novel, we would say, that can't happen, that's not true. so it's -- i suspect this will play out again over the next three or four weeks, will be -- or more, there will be legislative hearings and maybe other investigations, but, i don't think we've heard of last of this. >> the questions that remain are and even though he answered so many questions, how could he not have known and what is the atmosphere in his office that would permit these aides, top s